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Near-Pro Status

June 9, 2009

This morning, as I was nursing my baby and making my breakfast concurrently, I realized that it’s finally time to write about breastfeeding.

Let me set the scene. My husband generally gives a bottle of milk I’ve expressed the day before in the morning, then he puts baby down for a nap. At that point I’m still trying to catch up on fractured sleep from being multiple overnight feedings. But on most days, I force myself out of bed before Baby’s nap concludes so I can start the coffee, express a few ounces of milk, and make some oatmeal porridge. On really special days, I also get to shower.

So this morning I’m making some decaf coffee – Baby H cannot tolerate caffeine – when I notice that the coffee maker is taking an awfully long time to finish what, frankly, is its only task. The coffee is not dripping into the pot. I can hear it frothing and burbling around in there, so, where is it going? I also notice a suspicious red light on, and above that light is a tiny sign that says “self clean.” Perhaps the coffeepot actually does have more than one task? Cook coffee and clean itself? Well, everyone knows that cleaning is not as important as coffee, as evidenced by my own choice to get coffee rather than get clean. Perturbed and not sure what to do, I move on to start the other parts of breakfast.

Oatmeal for whatever reason helps ladies make lots of milk, so it’s my morning staple. I used to find oatmeal punishing, but that was before I started making it with milk instead of water. I also make other modifications. I add a pinch of salt, a swig of vanilla, and copious cinnamon to the milk. I sprinkle in dried fruits – some combo of raisins, blueberries, cranberries, or apricots, so they can steep and become delicious, instead of gritty and bad, like plain dried fruit. I top it with whatever sort of chopped nuts are around, and either sliced banana or sliced apple. I stir a little butter through the oatmeal, and then add a little maple syrup. I read somewhere that one of the advantages of breastfeeding is that it allows a new mom to eat like a professional wrestler and still lose weight; I love this oatmeal.

I am getting out the nuts when I hear Baby H starting to cry over the monitor. The baby, like his mother, does not wake up delighted to see the world, but rather puzzled and angry that he is still alive.

So I look quickly at the little oatmeal pot on the stove and see that it’s not quite at the bubble stage, so I rush in and pick him up and start to nurse him but instead of nursing him in my bed or in the glider in the living room, I carry him into the kitchen with me. He’s nursing still but in my arms while I walk around. I’ve done this before, when I need to get up and get the phone or the door, but I’m not wearing the magical pink pillow that straps around my waist and lends support, I am just nursing him while walking around — and cooking.

I stir the oatmeal into the milk. I look over to the coffee – there’s a little liquid in the pot. It’s approximately a third the amount of coffee that I’d intended to brew, however. I don’t know why this is, and I’m sure that it’s not going to be very good, but I want to drink my coffee, and this is apparently my coffee. So I pour it into a cup, slosh in a bunch of milk, and it’s still sort of brown. It tastes like sludge. I decide to add . . . coffee lovers, avert your eyes . . . I decide to add water. Cold water, from the tap. “It’s an Americano,” I think. No wonder it’s lame to drink Americanos.

The oatmeal is ready, so I put it into a bowl, and sprinkle on the nuts. I’m almost ready to sit down and finish my appalling, cold, decaf Americano and eat my beloved oatmeal – but where is the fruit? I’m a maximalist, and I love the fruit. I look around and realize that while there is a half an apple on the cutting board, it has neither been peeled nor sliced. I’m pretty embarrassed to tell you about the coffee, but I should draw the line at the apple. I consider the situation. I can’t easily use a large knife; aside from the sharpness, I can’t make too many sudden moves, since my nipple is encaged (sleepnessness enhances my vocabulary) in the jaws of steel. Which makes me think about my own jaws of steel. So I bite tiny chunks off of the apple, and spit them into the bowl with the oatmeal. Breakfast is complete. Voila!

I’m getting to be a pro. “You’ll really be a pro,” a woman with three children told me, “when you find yourself flipping a grilled cheese sandwich and nursing at the same time.”

The woman who suggested this was watching me try to nurse publicly at a wedding shower, about a month before. The baby, at that point, looked like a precious figurine of a child who’d been out Christmas caroling, with little white dewdrops of snow stacked up delicately in his eyelashes.

I had firehosed him, yet again, with my milk. I was having a difficult time that day with supporting the baby properly while nursing and not sharing intimate information about my body with other people. But when it came to the learning curve of breastfeeding, a Christmasey looking baby and some public indiscretion were the least of the problems. But this is a happy post! I will write more about the challenges of breastfeeding another day.

For now, I am celebrating near-pro status.

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 30, 2009 2:32 pm

    Meredith! I love hearing all about your adventures with Henry. And to read it in your beautiful writing–just wonderful. Kiss his little head for me.xo,chris (formerly of Scholastic)

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